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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Ambivalent!

We were all set to leave Newman this morning for a hike and then the sun disappeared and it started pouring again! It wasn’t supposed to be raining today. We decided to leave Newman anyway and hoped that by the time we got to our hiking spot, that the weather would clear up.


The weather was very ambivalent today. It was both simultaneous and contradictory! We had sunshine, at the same time as it was raining! It would stop raining and then start raining, all day long. A very contradictory day!




We were glued to the TV before we left to see what was happening in Washington D.C. today. It is very sad and disturbing to see the U.S. democracy in tatters and riots being incited, when the election results were counted without fraud and the election was not “stolen”. The U.S. is not a ‘banana republic’ but some of its citizens need to stop acting like it is.





We had not visited the Community Park in Qualicum Beach, so we thought we would go for a walk in the park before we played golf at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club this afternoon.


We arrived at the park to find people practising Thai Chi in the parking lot in a nice socially distanced manner, in the rain. People in B.C. sure are a hearty bunch! Rain or shine, it doesn’t matter, they are outdoors enjoying some exercise!



The park was a bit of a disappointment though as it was mostly a playground, baseball diamonds and a soccer field. We had thought there would be more of a hiking trail we could follow to explore the forest. It was drizzling slightly, but we were still up for a hike.



The Community Park in Qualicum Beach.


After walking through the park we decided to visit the train station in town and just then, the sun came out!


The train station in Qualicum Beach was constructed in 1914 by E&N Railway and coincided with the development of the Qualicum Beach Hotel and golf links. The beauty of the beach was not lost on those extending the railway northward. Anticipating an increase in population, a town site was also surveyed above the tracks. These developments sparked the growth of Qualicum Beach from a sparsely settled area to a premiere tourist destination, and the Train Station welcomed both an influx of new settlers and guests to the new resort. Charlie White was the first of many station agents, and his family soon took up residence in the station between 1921 and 1929. Rail activities stressed punctuality and became the standard by which people set their clocks. The train station became a community focal point, important for contact with the outside world by mail, telegraph, or in person. Local residents and businesses eagerly awaited freight and express shipments. Kind of like us in our day and age, waiting for our mail from Fort Erie, or our Amazon shipments! As rail traffic declined greatly after WWII, many stations fell into sore neglect and local citizens formed the “Old Train Society” in 1991 to have the Qualicum station declared as ‘Heritage’. Careful restorations began in 1994 with thousands of volunteer hours and the aging structure was returned to its former glory, patiently waiting for the next train. Unfortunately train service terminated on the E&N line in 2011 due to disrepair of the railroad tracks.



Railway tracks at Qualicum Beach.



This steam locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925 for logging operations on Vancouver Island. Bloedel, Stewart & Welch No. 4 was a 2-8-2T sidetank locomotive, and locomotives with this axle arrangement were known as ‘Mikados’, frequently shortened to the name “Mike”. In the U.S. the train was called the ‘McAdoo Mikado‘ or in WWII, the “MacArthur”. The company eventually became Macmillan Bloedel, and the locomotive remained in use at the Chermainus mill until 1969. A 2-8-2 configuration represents the wheel arrangement of 2 leading wheels on one axle, usually in a leading truck, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles and two trailing wheels on one axle, usually in a trailing truck.


VIA Rail had provided a “Day Liner” Inter city service up until 2011. The railway station is 1km from the beach and the train service brought people from Victoria and Courtenay to Qualicum Beach for the day/or week for their vacations. It was nice to explore the train station and grounds and learn a bit about its history, while the sun was shining.


Since we didn’t have enough time to visit the local museum before our tee time, Richard suggested we head to the golf course instead and see if we could get out earlier than our scheduled tee time. Richard went to pay and get the pull carts, and he came back to say we were on the tee in 12 minutes! I got to the tee before him and as soon as he arrived, he had to tee off. We arrived in a cloud of dust again on the first tee, which Richard hates! At least he made a long putt for a bogey today on this long par 5 first hole.


One of the locals, Tom, who we played with, who lives in neighbouring Parksville and who purchased a 2020/2021 winter membership at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club. Tom has already played close to 50 rounds since November 1st! The golf course was packed today and it was spitting rain on and off for most of the round. The sunshine didn’t last too long unfortunately. We find that people here don’t mind the rain on the golf course and will play golf rain or shine!



7th hole - par 5. Full rain gear today. I did take the rain jacket off, but then it immediately started raining again, so I had to put it back on. Today was the first time I’ve played golf in January in Canada! At +7C it wasn’t too bad actually, despite the rain and some wetness on the course.


See! I do take a divot!


After golf we were really hungry after walking 9 holes, so I suggested we head to “Q Burger” in downtown Qualicum Beach. Q Burger was featured on the Food Network’s tv show “You Gotta Eat Here” and the last time we wanted to try it, it had been closed.


We saw the burgers being served to the other 3 people in the restaurant, and we decided to split a burger since they were so large!



Q Burger



With so many burgers to choose from we didn’t know which one to try! We decided on the ‘True Canadian Classic’ along with a homemade mango/pineapple lemonade.



True Canadian Classic burger at Q Burger. The meat is ground fresh every day at Quality Foods grocery store in Qualicum beach, and delivered to Q burger daily.


This freshly made mango/pineapple lemonade was delicious and huge, just like the burgers!


I couldn’t even eat my half of the burger, but it was delicious! We loved it! and will go back to Q Burger another day to check out some of the other menu items.


We needed to walk off that burger, so we decided to go up and down West 2nd street in Qualicum Beach. I also wanted to try out my new 35mm lens for the first time on my Fuji X-T4. The 35 mm lens is great for street, landscape and portraiture photography.


Outside a local shop I found this window box full of flowers. Its amazing that these flowers such as geraniums and alyssum are blooming outside in January, when we would normally have them growing only in the summer back home!


I guess the person who planted this garden definitely believes in tomorrow!


I couldn’t believe how many Wealth Management companies exist in Qualicum Beach. With only 8,943 residents, Qualicum Beach has the oldest average population in Canada with a median age of 65.9. I counted 4 Wealth Management companies within 2 blocks on West 2nd street.




We finished up our walk and headed home in the pouring rain to watch TV in Newman and to listen to the speeches from the U.S. Congress. We know democracy will prevail, but the U.S. is so very divided and the “temperature” needs to be turned down so people can fight the Covid 19 virus, instead of fighting each other over politics. We cannot be ambivalent about what needs to happen in the U.S. to regain its powerful place in the world and what it stands for in terms of democracy.





Tomorrow will be the best day of the week. 7C and no rain! We are really looking forward to an interesting hike and are thinking we may go farther afield tomorrow and perhaps head to Nanaimo, where we have not hiked before.






We are also anxiously awaiting Dr Bonnie Henry’s next announcement due by Friday night on what the restrictions will be in B.C. for the next month. We have booked a cottage in Tofino in 2 weeks, but unless the restrictions change, we won’t be allowed to go, since Tofino is shut down to all overnight tourists, with all hotels and AirBnb’s closed.





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